PAST MODIFIED CHAMPION FARMER TO BE
NASCAR To Also Recognize
Virginia Natives Crouse, Weatherly
As part of the season-long celebration of 60 Years of Modified
Champions, 1956 NASCAR Modified titlist Red Farmer will be honored
at the Made In American Whelen 300 on Saturday, Sept. 20 at
Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.
Farmer, a member of the famed “Alabama Gang,” captured the 1956
NASCAR Modified championship by a 118-point margin against Sam DiRusso.
“There were three of us, along with Fred Schweikert, close enough
to win the championship, and the last race we ran was in Concord ,
North Carolina ,” Farmer said. “In fact, I think Ralph Earnhardt was
in that race in a Sportsman car, and we both got our championships
in that last race.”
Named one of “NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers” in 1998, Farmer has had
a checkered racing career that, now in his mid-70’s, still continues
today. Along with NASCAR, Farmer is celebrating his own 60-year
anniversary of racing in 2008.
A resident of Hueytown , Ala. , Farmer still competes on a
part-time basis in dirt Late Models at Talladega Short Track and
other regional venues. He’s even wheeled against some of today’s
brightest NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stars each of the last four years
in Tony Stewart’s Prelude to the Dream race at Eldora Speedway.
Originally from Hialeah , Fla. , Farmer started his racing career
in 1946. A competitor for many years in the NASCAR Modified Division
and NASCAR Nationwide Series (then known as Sportsman), Farmer found
Victory Lane on numerous occasions. In addition to his 1956 NASCAR
Modified championship, Farmer won three-consecutive NASCAR
Nationwide Series titles from 1969-71.
Farmer also made 36 career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (then known as
Grand National), starts from 1953-75. His last appearance in one of
NASCAR’s national divisions came in 1992 with two starts in the
NASCAR Nationwide Series.
Always a favorite at the track, Farmer was named the NASCAR
Modified Most Popular Driver in 1968 and was a four-time winner of
the award in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.
Farmer is a member of the inaugural class of the Talladega-Texaco
Walk of Fame in 1998 along with fellow “Alabama Gang” members Bobby
and Donnie Allison and Neil Bonnett and is also a member of the
International Motorsports Hall of Fame.
Farmer has fond memories of racing at Martinsville against drivers
such as Sonny Hutchins, Ray Hendrick, Emanuel Zervakis and Glen
“I look forward to coming back up there [ Martinsville ] to see the
track, I haven’t been there in so many years and there’s been so
many changes to it,” Farmer said. “Everybody used to ask me how to
get around Martinsville , and I’d tell them that you need a dragster
with air brakes.”
In addition to honoring Farmer’s 1956 Modified title and career
accomplishments, NASCAR will also recognize a pair of champions that
are no longer with us; Eddie Crouse and Joe Weatherly.
Crouse, who made a name for himself at South Boston Speedway,
earned back-to-back NASCAR Modified national titles in 1962 and
1963. From Glen Allen, Va. , Crouse won 13 of 77 races and finished
second 11 times while competing throughout the eastern seaboard and
finished 1,072 points ahead of Ed Flemke Sr. for his first title in
1962. He earned his second title in a row by distancing himself from
runner-up Runt Harris by 1,172 points with eight feature wins, seven
runner-ups and a host of top-fives in 58 races during his 1963 title
run. Crouse, who was inducted in the Virginia Motorsports Hall of
Fame earlier this year, passed away in 2004 at the age of 78.
Weatherly, who gained fame as a two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
champion, earned his first NASCAR title in the Modified division in
1953. After finishing second to Frankie Schneider in the national
title chase the previous year, Weatherly returned the favor in 1953
as he finished 976 points ahead of Schneider. His 1953 title
featured track championships at Royal Speedway in Richmond , Va. ,
and Princess Anne Speedway in Norfolk , Va.
A native of Norfolk , Va. , Weatherly captured 25 wins in the
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series prior to his death in 1964 at the age of
41. Weatherly, who was first a motorcycle racer before moving to
cars, also compiled 12 wins in NASCAR’s Convertible Division. He is
a member of the International Motorsports Hall of Fame and was named
one of “NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers.”
The Made In American Whelen 300 will be the 13th of 16 races on the
2008 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour schedule. A combination race with
the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour, the green flag is set to
drop in Martinsville on Saturday, Sept. 20 and 3:30 p.m. For ticket
information please visit Martinsville ’s official Web site (martinsvillespeedway.com).